Korol Koref / When God First Created Man
Early nineteenth Century C0rnish Carol collections by Davies Gilbert, William Sandys and John Hutchens contained a number of medieval carols. The term “carol” derives from the medieval word “carole” meaning a circular dance to singing. Indeed in both the Cornish and Breton languages “karroli” and “korrolin” respectively mean to dance. As they are much older languages than English they are one possible route for the term Carol to have entered into English use.
The Carol “When God At First Created Man” from the Hutchens collection lends itself well to dancing the medieval carole. In the 1970s Andy Davey collaborated with Tim Saunders to set Tim’s Beer Carol “Karol Koref” to the tune of Hutchen’s Carol. Karol Koref has a better ring to it as a dance and session tune than “When God At First Created Man” and so it has become known today. It is likely that in the same way that the medieval dance “Servants Brawle” became the carol “Ding Dong Merrily on High” so Hutchen’s Carol had a different name as a medieval dance so there is a sense in which the slightly irreverent “Karol Koref” completes the circle!
Gundry, Inglis. Now Carol We: Twelve Carols from an Old Cornish Manuscript. ( London: Oxford University Press, 1966 ). p4. Kresen Kernow ref: CMA/1/1/7/30 and Shelf number 780.57
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